Rescue Squad Dispute

Action at a special city council meeting Friday evening gave American Medical Response Ambulance Services Inc. (AMR) a 90-day agreement to handle all rescue calls. Behind-the-scenes activity late last week included the resignations of three paramedic volunteers of Plattsmouth Rescue.

City Councilman Terry Kerns, chairman of the newly formed Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Board, said it all boils down to “the manpower issue”—the lack of an adequate number of volunteers—and difficulty in having enough volunteers for rescue calls the previous weekend. However, he also acknowledged the rescue captain’s arrangement with another private ambulance service to help Plattsmouth volunteers for a day sparked a chain of events.

Corey Parriott, the rescue captain at the time, said he knew Plattsmouth was short on paramedics last Thursday so he had a “gentleman’s agreement” with American Ambulance Service to assist Plattsmouth EMTs with any advanced life support calls between 7am and 5pm that day—a faster response than if Murray or Bellevue were to supply mutual aid. American Ambulance crews have been around town the last few months. American has been called directly by individuals and has a couple of transport contracts with local medical facilities.

Parriott said City Administrator Erv Portis learned of the Thursday situation and called him. Parriott said Portis yelled at him, saying he (Parriott) was not authorized to make such an agreement and there were legal ramifications because the city had no contract with American. Kerns said from what he knows of the situation, Parriott’s actions “were not proper protocol.”
Parriott, who works paid shifts for another American crew in Glenwood, concedes it “may not have been by the book,” but said he knew there could be a problem on Thursday and he talked with American “purely to protect the public.” As a volunteer trying to do what he can to serve the public, “I don’t appreciate being yelled at,” said Parriott.

The Cassgram asked if he yelled at Parriott, Portis said, “Not true.” Portis said it was Parriott who was raising his voice.
Both Parriott and Portis said City Attorney Roger Johnson was in on the speakerphone conversation and encouraged Cassgram to talk to him. Choosing his words carefully, Johnson said, “Was there some tension in the discussion? Yes, but I can’t say anybody was really ‘yelling’ …and I guess it would depend on your definition of ‘yelling’.”

Mayor Paul Lambert said Sunday he knew nothing of a heated conversation between Parriott and Portis but will ask because he would like to know.

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